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The Common Denominator

Before I took to the skies yesterday I was thinking of a tragic event which as of yesterday happened 53 years ago: the crash of Northwest Flight 710.  An Around this time last year I wrote a post commemorating the lives that were lost on that Lockheed L-188C Electra registered N121US which perished some 50 miles east of my native Evansville, Indiana near Tell City on March 17th, 1960.  No one survived this flight.


Even though the causes of this fatal crash were mechanical, a lot of crashes are due to pilot fatigue and error - or should I say lack of proper training.  As I was sitting and having a discussion with my flight instructor yesterday, we were discussing what it takes to become a good, if not excellent, pilot.  He told me that aviation is the only field to which an instructor can't take a wand, point it at the student, and say, "Poof!  I have now made you an excellent pilot."

Training and learning to become an excellent pilot takes loads of practice and experience - not to mention the proper training.  But where do you get the proper training from?

From a GOOD if not EXCELLENT instructor

Where and how do you find an excellent instructor?

For those who are beginning student pilots, the instructor is THE most important investment that you will make.  It is the foundation of investments because this person will be the one who will guide to where you need to be.  Someone who knows you, your learning abilities, and probably most important, your personality as to be able to mold instruction to cater to these areas.

It's one thing to go to your local airport and sign up for flight lessons but it's another to find the right person to entrust yourself.  No matter if you are training for a Sport License, a PPL, multi-engine, ATP, or recurrent training for one of the majors, the type of training you receive is ever most paramount.  The people teaching and training may be the people who will make the most  difference in your flight path to becoming an excellent pilot, but the person who is the primary source of that is you and who you select to be your flight instructor.

What do you look for in a flight instructor?  Who will be the one to teach you flight safety and to be a safe and RESPONSIBLE pilot?  Who will be the one that you will not only entrust not only your brain in but also your souls with so that one day you can say, "All of the souls on board my flight that have put their trust in me as a pilot, were able to have a safe and fun flight because of my excellent flight training."?

When I walked through the wooded area near Tell City one day near ground zero of Northwest 710 and saw the memorial above, I saw the souls of all of those on board that flight.  I was afraid to fly after I heard how the plane went down.  Years later, I put my soul in the hands of the Northwest 747 pilots who took me over to Amsterdam, and with their excellent training, not only did I have a safe intro flight as a commercial passenger, but I also  fell in love with something to which I decided to take on as my new life - being a pilot in itself.  To be diligent.  To be persistent.  To practice.  To work hard and fly right.  Not only those, but to have a great instructor who knows how to be tough, to be serious, but patient when needed.  Especially catering to your needs to be where you need to be, because in all reality, instructors are the ones help setting you up for success - but it's the student's job to BECOME the success.  For they will teach you what it takes to be an excellent pilot which is the greatest investment one could ever ask for.  

Two excellent flight instructors who have given so much to so many - myself included..



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